Outing to Vrolijkheid Reserve


There will be a full day outing to Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve on 2nd May 2019.

Meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 06:30 (we need to get away early as it is about a 2 hour drive).

We will spend 3 to 4 hours birding the Reserve. There is a lovely picnic site near the entrance so bring whatever you need to enhance your experience!!

Birds: The special birds to look out for: Fairy Flycatcher, Grey Tit, Layards Tit-babler, Rufous-eared Warbler, Namaqua Warbler, Aghulas Long-billed Lark, Karoo Korhaan, Long-billed Crombec and many others!

There are two options to return to Hermanus (Each party to decide for themselves):

Go back via Robertson, Worcester, Villiersdorp (ie returning the way we arrived)

Take the back (dirt) roads to the R317 and on to Stormsvlei, and Riviersonderend.

Both options have potentially good birding opportunities along the way.

Directions from Hermanus: (Probably a good idea to check out the route on google maps!)

Take the R43 to Bot River, then N2 towards Caledon for a few Km, then turn left off the N2 onto the R43 towards Villiersdorp, Turn right at the ‘T’ and continue through Villiersdorp on the R43 to Worcester and before reaching Worcester turn right onto the Road sign posted to Robertson and the R60, and then turn right onto the R60 towards Robertson. Once in Robertson take the turn off towards Mcgregor and the Reserve will be on the left hand side. Overall distance is about 160 Km.

Contact: Lester van Groeningen 078 593 8977

Outing to Meerensee


Lester and Ian Glenn led a very enjoyable outing to Meerensee and the surrounding estates this morning.  There were no less than 30 members present and the parking lot reflected this, with 11 vehicles taking up all the space!

We walked around the western edges of the Bot river lagoon and adjacent gardens and managed to record no less than 66 species, despite the cool, windy and sometimes rainy weather.  Perhaps our most interesting sighting was of an immature Cape Cormorant attempting to devour what looked like a snake, but could have been an eel.  It really struggled to swallow the c. 60 cm reptile and even regurgitated it at least once, before making off into the deeper water with its catch.  We never did see how the episode ended.

Our list, which includes birds seen at the Hawston Settling Ponds on the way home, comprised;

African Oystercatcher; African Pipit; African Sacred Ibis;  Bar-throated Apalis;  Bokmakerie;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Bulbul;  Brimstone Canary;  Cape Cormorant;  White-breasted Cormorant;  Long-billed Crombec;  Laughing Dove;  Fork-tailed Drongo;  Little Egret;  Peregrine Falcon;  Southern Fiscal;  Greater Flamingo;  Fiscal Flycather;  Cape Gannet;  Sombre Greenbul;  Common Greenshank;  Helmeted Guineafowl;  Hartlaub’s Gull;  Kelp Gull;  Black-headed Heron;  Grey Heron;  Hadeda Ibis;  Sacred Ibis;  Rock Kestrel;  Pied Kingfisher;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Brown-throated Martin;  Red-faced Mousebird;  Speckled Mousebird;  Speckled Pigeon;  Common Ringed Plover;  Three Banded Plover;  Kittlitz’s Plover;  White-fronted Plover;  Karoo Prinia;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Cape Sparrow;  Grey-headed Sparrow;  Common Starling;  Black-winged Stilt;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Malachite Sunbird;  Barn Swallow;  Greater Striped Swallow;  Little Swift;  White-rumped Swift;  Olive Thrush;  Cape Wagtail;  Common Waxbill;  Cape Weaver;  Cape White-eye;  African Spoonbill;  Cape Spurfowl;  Cape Teal;  Caspian Tern;  Sandwich Tern;  Swift Tern;  Purple Swamphen;  Common Moorhen;  Yellow-billed Duck;  Cape Shoveller.

The outing provided a good opportunity for Challengers to add a few birds to their lists.


April Walk

The walk on Thursday 4 April will be at Meerensee and Flamingo Bay, and will be led by Ian Glenn.  Please meet at the Onrus Trading Post at 7:00 am in order to consolidate transport, after which we will drive to Flamingo Bay to meet with Ian.  Challengers, this could be an opportunity to tick some good waders!

Outing to De Mond


The weather forecast kept changing, but this morning everything suggested that we would be able to get in a good few hours of birding before the rain set in.  We were wrong!  On arrival everything looked good, so we walked along the lagoon edge towards the flocks of waders that could be sen in the distance, only to have a strong wind come up and then along came the rain!  We hurried back to shelter and had our coffee and snacks (Lester stayed out, which explains why he gets more birds than the rest of us!) and compiled our bird list.  It wasn’t bad, given the circumstances and we achieved a total of 76 species!  Our drive back across the Agulhas plains was unproductive, but certainly contributed to dirtying our cars more than might have been wished for!

Bar-throated Apalis;  Southern Red Bishop;  Yellow Bishop;  Bokmakerie;  Southern Boubou;  Cape Bulbul;  Cape Bunting;  Denham’s Bustard;  Common Buzzard;  Jackal Buzzard;  Brimstone Canary;  Yellow Canary;   Grey-backed Cisticola;  Levaillant’s Cisticola;   Red-knobbed Coot;  Reed Cormorant;  White-breasted Cormorant;  Black Crake;  Blue Crane;   Cape Crow;  Pied Crow;  Cape Turtle Dove;  Laughing Dove;   Red-eyed Dove;  Fork-tailed Drongo;  White-backed Duck;  Yellow-billed Duck;   Little Egret; Western Cattle Egret;  Common Fiscal;   African Paradise Flycatcher;  Fiscal Flycatcher;   Egyptian Goose;  Spur-winged Goose;    Sombre Greenbul;  Common Greenshank;  Helmeted Guineafowl;  Hartlaub’s Gull;  Kelp Gull;  Black-headed Heron;  Grey Heron;  African Sacred Ibis;   Hadeda Ibis;  Black-shouldered Kite;  Blacksmith Lapwing;  Crowned Lapwing;  Red-capped Lark;  Common Moorhen;  Speckled Mousebird;  Common Moorhen;  Speckled Pigeon;  African Pipit;  Common Ringed Plover;  Grey Plover;  White-fronted Plover;  Karoo Prinia;  White-necked Raven;  Cape Robin-Chat;  Terek Sandpiper;  House Sparrow;  African Spoonbill;  Cape Spurfowl;  Common Starling;  Pied Starling;  Red-winged Starling; Little Stint;  African Stonechat;  Southern Double-collared Sunbird;  Barn Swallow;  Greater Striped Swallow;   African Swamphen;  Caspian Tern;  Spotted Thick-Knee;  Cape Wagtail;  Cape Weaver;  Capped Wheatear;  Whimbrel;  Cardinal Woodpecker.

Photos – Ronnie and Lester (who is confusing De Mond with De Hoop)


Outing to De Mond on Thursday 7 March


Thursday’s outing to De Mond is going ahead.  There is a good chance for rain, but only in the afternoon, so let’s go and see what we can find in this fascinating reserve.  We will meet at Fernkloof at 7:00 am to consolidate the transport arrangements.  Please remember to bring along some refreshments, as it will be a long day, and also some money or your wild cards to get into the reserve and to pay your contribution towards travel expenses should you be getting a lift.

Outing to Platbos Forest


Twenty two keen birders met at Fernkloof at 07.00 this morning the 7th January and were treated an absolutely beautiful walk led by Lester van Groeningen.

The bird numbers weren’t high but several walkers expressed their opinion by saying that they would love to return to Platbos again just to walk and enjoy the forest.

Platbos is unusual gem of an ancient indigenous forest situated at the foot of Africa. Described by botanist and author, Professor Eugene Moll, as a “unique South African forest jewel”, this is a forest that enchants and inspires all who come to visit.

Birds seen at or near Platbos         Jackal Buzzard   Olive pigeon   Cape Turtle Dove  Common (Steppe) Buzzard   Barn Swallow   Cape Weaver   Southern (Common) Fiscal  Karoo Prinia   Cape Bulbul Brimstone Canary   Grassbird   Greater Striped Swallow   Red Wing Starling   Common (Eurasian) Starling   Sombre Greenbul   Cape Robin Chat  Guinea Fowl   Bar Throated Apalis   Cape White Eye   Southern Double Collared Sunbird  Cape Batis Dusky Flycatcher   Tambourine Dove (call only)   Fork Tailed Drongo  Paradise Flycatcher (female)   Alpine Swift   Hadeda Ibis   Western Cattle Egret   White Rumped Swift   Yellow Billed Kite       Total 29.

Seen at Adam’s Dam, Stanford        Yellow   Billed Duck   Red Knobbed Coot  White faced Whistling Duck   Reed Cormorant   African Darter   Common Moorhen       Total 6.

Submitted by John Saunders with photos by Mike Kokot

Platbos Outing


There will be an outing to Platbos Forest on Thursday 7th Feb, led by Lester van Groeningen.  They require an entrance fee of R30 per head, so please come prepared.  Please meet at Fernkloof at 7:00 am in order to consolidate transport.

Evening Cruise on the Lady Stanford


Upon checking the forecast I was worried that last evening’s cruise on the Lady Stanford was going to be a wind blown disaster. The members on the trip all arrived early and boarding was done very efficiently.  We had people requiring assistance and Peter Hochfelden – the Captain and ex Chair of the Stanford Bird Club – moved the boat to allow easy access. His helper, a very strong young man, physically carried one of our members on to the boat- he was amazing. Peter is an excellent birder and was very keen to spot and identify.

We set off on our cruise in the most ideal conditions – no wind – just utterly beautiful!

Everyone had a cruise on the river to be remembered. The Lady goes much further down the river than we have gone before and birding was brilliant. When we turned around we were close to a flock of hundreds of Flamingos.

We managed 50 species and the list below was compiled by John and Shelagh and the  pictures are courtesy of John Bowman.

This was a memorable and lovely trip for all or us from brilliant to social birders on a very fine vessel.

Craig Holmes

Roberts English Name
824 Red Bishop
149 Steppe Buzzard
228 Red-knobbed Coot
58   Reed Cormorant
55   White-breasted Cormorant
208 Blue Crane
60   African Darter
354 Cape Turtle Dove
541 Fork-tailed Drongo
104 Yellow-billed Duck
71  Cattle Egret
67  Little Egret
68  Yellow-billed Egret
96   Greater Flamingo
102 Egyptian Goose
116 Spur-Winged Goose
6    Great Crested Grebe
8    Little Grebe
270 Greenshank
203 Helmeted Guineafowl
316 Hartlaub’s Gull
312 Kelp Gull
165 African Marsh Harrier
63  Black-headed Heron
65  Purple Heron
91  Sacred Ibis
94  Hadeda  Ibis
429 Giant Kingfisher
431 Malachite Kingfisher
428 Pied Kingfisher
258 Blacksmith Plover
226 Common Moorhen
349 Rock Pigeon
112 Cape Shoveller
158 Black Sparrowhawk
95   African Spoonbill
757 Eurasian Starling
295 Blackwinged Stilt
518 Eurasian Swallow
520 White-throated Swallow
223 Purple Swamp Hen
106 Cape Teal
108 Red-billed Teal
322 Caspian Tern
327 Common Tern
326 Sandwich Tern
713 Cape Wagtail
635 Cape Reed Warbler
813 Cape Weaver
814 Masked Waver